Corporate Europe Observatory

Exposing the power of corporate lobbying in the EU

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Paying the polluters

Industry lobbying on EU climate policy looks set to secure further subsidies for energy-intensive industries through the reform of State Aid, according to a new report, Paying the Polluters: EU emissions trading and the new corporate electricity subsidies, published by Corporate Europe Observatory and Carbon Trade Watch. The report shows how the Commission's proposals have opened the door to millions of euros of subsidies to help some of the biggest polluters pay their energy bills.

A new European Commission measure has opened the door to the granting of millions of euros worth of subsidies to help the continent’s largest corporate polluters with their electricity bills. This report shows how:



- A proposed reform to the European Commission’s State Aid rules will allow member states to compensate industry for increases in electricity charges incurred as a result of the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Already, the UK Government has committed to covering these costs – as part of a £250 million (€300 million) commitment to “compensate key electricity-intensive businesses to help offset the indirect cost of the carbon price floor (a national initiative to set a minimum carbon price) and the EU Emissions Trading System.”



- Some of the corporations that stand to benefit most from these new electricity subsidies have already profited massively from the ETS , most notably those in the steel sector. Eurofer, the European steel industry lobby group, has called for compensation despite over-allocations of pollution permits to the steel sector that could be worth billions of Euros.



- The aluminium sector, represented by industry association Eurometaux, has also successfully lobbied for its compensation claims to be included in draft EU rules. Its submissions have massively overstated the impact of the ETS on the sector, while conveniently understating the real drivers of outsourced production, such as trade rules and cheap labour. In fact, much of the aluminium sector enjoys long-term contracts with private electricity suppliers at far lower rates than those paid by domestic consumers.



- The proposed reform of State Aid rules exposes significant flaws in how the Commission assesses “carbon leakage,” the perceived risk that caps on EU emissions could price business out of Europe and into less regulated markets, which would in turn contribute to an overall increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The price estimates lobbyists proposed to assess the risks are over five times the current or projected carbon price.

Attached files: 
A new European Commission measure has opened the door to the granting of millions of euros worth of subsidies to help the continent’s largest corporate polluters with their electricity bills. This report shows how:- A proposed reform to the European Commission’s State Aid rules will allow member states to compensate industry for increases in electricity charges incurred as a result of the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Already, the UK Government has committed to covering these costs – as part of a £250 million (€300 million) commitment to “compensate key electricity-intensive businesses to help offset the indirect cost of the carbon price floor (a national initiative to set a minimum carbon price) and the EU Emissions Trading System.”- Some of the corporations that stand to benefit most from these new electricity subsidies have already profited massively from the ETS , most notably those in the steel sector. Eurofer, the European steel industry lobby group, has called for compensation despite over-allocations of pollution permits to the steel sector that could be worth billions of Euros.- The aluminium sector, represented by industry association Eurometaux, has also successfully lobbied for its compensation claims to be included in draft EU rules. Its submissions have massively overstated the impact of the ETS on the sector, while conveniently understating the real drivers of outsourced production, such as trade rules and cheap labour. In fact, much of the aluminium sector enjoys long-term contracts with private electricity suppliers at far lower rates than those paid by domestic consumers.- The proposed reform of State Aid rules exposes significant flaws in how the Commission assesses “carbon leakage,” the perceived risk that caps on EU emissions could price business out of Europe and into less regulated markets, which would in turn contribute to an overall increases in greenhouse gas emissions. The price estimates lobbyists proposed to assess the risks are over five times the current or projected carbon price.
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LEt’s kick Big Oil and Gas out of EU and UN climate policy. sign the petition now!

New analysis of lobby meetings shows that EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his colleague Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for the Energy Union, have overwhelmingly met corporate lobbyists, rather than public interest groups.

As the final days of COP22 approach, Corporate Europe Observatory, Corporate Accountability International, 350.org and AITEC have published further evidence of the close relationship between policy makers and Big Polluters in the EU. The central findings of the analysis are presented in three infographics.

As the investigation into the Dieselgate affair deepens both in VW’s home country Germany as well as at EU-level, the European Commission’s role in the scandal comes into focus. Corporate Europe Observatory recently obtained leaked documents which reveal the illegal attempt of the Commission’s enterprise department (DG Enterprise) to delay enforcement of EU emissions standards for diesel cars in a bid to help industry save money.

As world leaders prepare for COP22 in Marrakesh, Morocco, this November, the oil and gas industry retains a firm grip on the UN climate talks and climate policy in general. It’s time to break free and reclaim power over climate policy.

In the last years, controversies around the financialisation of nature and the concept of natural capital have fuelled divisions within civil society.

Over 450 public interest groups from across Europe and Canada today published an open letter urging legislators to vote against the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). They joined forces to defend people and planet against the threats posed by the EU-Canada agreement.

8 November 2016 saw the annual lobby fest between the Commission and BusinessEurope. Lasting for over seven hours, attracting four commissioners and the secretary-general, as well as 26 major corporate interests (who between them spend over €31,789,000 a year on EU lobbying), this is exclusive, privileged access at its most extreme.

New analysis of lobby meetings shows that EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete and his colleague Maroš Šefčovič, Vice President for the Energy Union, have overwhelmingly met corporate lobbyists, rather than public interest groups.

 
 
 
 
 
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The corporate lobby tour